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20 minutes ago, AUDub said:

Hate it for Japan. Hell of a counter from the Belgians. Japan got caught napping. 

Japan made them EARN it today.  That will set Belgium up pretty well going forward.

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Thought England was destined to lose after the late equalizer.  They played conservative in OT and trained like heck to win the PK’s.  Gotta hand it to them.  I thought they looked the superior team in the second half.  Didn’t see the first.

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Welp, so ends Brazil's WC.

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17 hours ago, Mid Atlantic Tiger said:

I am pulling for Belgium and England for the finals.  All four teams have real grit.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the English Side...definitely did not expect this!

Very pleased with these semifinal matchups.

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Conmebol (south america) often exits the WC early, contrary to soccer media's worship of "the beautiful game". Since 1950 only 2 conmebol teams have made it as far as the final - brazil & argentina. In the 13 world cups since Pele retired internationally (1970 - a benchmark IMO), brazil has won the thing a whopping twice. Conmebol will continue to underachieve IMO so long as its philosophy is to put 10 world class strikers, zero world class defenders (David Luiz was a huge exception) and what passes for a goalkeeper on the field. And no, marcelo may play "defense" for real madrid but he's a beckenbauer attacking defensive middy just playing back. Brazil broke from the attack/dribble/dive/attack mold in '94, played world class defense & won the WC but the Brazilian media still berates that team's lack of "style". Tsk tsk.

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16 minutes ago, aucanucktiger said:

Conmebol (south america) often exits the WC early, contrary to soccer media's worship of "the beautiful game". Since 1950 only 2 conmebol teams have made it as far as the final - brazil & argentina. In the 13 world cups since Pele retired internationally (1970 - a benchmark IMO), brazil has won the thing a whopping twice. Conmebol will continue to underachieve IMO so long as its philosophy is to put 10 world class strikers, zero world class defenders (David Luiz was a huge exception) and what passes for a goalkeeper on the field. And no, marcelo may play "defense" for real madrid but he's a beckenbauer attacking defensive middy just playing back. Brazil broke from the attack/dribble/dive/attack mold in '94, played world class defense & won the WC but the Brazilian media still berates that team's lack of "style". Tsk tsk.

Since 1970, both Brazil and Argentina have won it twice, Germany has won it 3 times, and no other country has won it more than once. 

Europe has 4 teams that have won 7 finals since 1970 to South America's 2 and 4. No other continent has won it once. 

Europe has 740+ million people to South America's 422+ (in other words, both continents have a Cup for every 100 million people) and a hell of a lot more money and resources.

Doesn't seem like Conmebol is underachieving and 2 World Cups since 1970 actually is "whopping". Brazil has also made the semi-finals 7 times since 1970, the quarters/"Round 2" 4 times and the round of 16 once. They haven't failed to get out of the group stage since before Pele retired. Germany, quite the anti-Brazil and the only country in the world to have more success in the last 50 years, just watched 2 South American teams get to the quarterfinals while they couldn't even get out of their group. Not sure how Argentina has finished each time, but they've produced 2 of the only 3 guys to challenge Pele as the best footballer of all time. And one of them won it all. 

I certainly understand taking issue with their tactics, and Europe's vastly superior resources will likely widen the gap- see: Iceland seeing soccer in the store window at Saks and paying cash for it... and I'm not sure how Europe being the center of the professional soccer universe affects things, but Argentina and Messi suggest it's not great for South America- but I don't see a valid argument that Brazil, Argentina or Conmebol have been underachieving since 1970. 

 

 

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Yes, tactics but development of player defensive skills AND as a defensive unit. And yes, Brazil & Argentina ARE the conmebol story over the last almost 50 years. Only Uruguay (once) has also made it into the WC semis from Conmebol in that time. Four of the 13 WC's have been won by Conmebol in that period (2 for Brazil - '94 & '06 and 2 for Argentina - '78 & '86). Conmebol is made up of 10 south American countries where (except Venezuela) soccer is king and has essentially 5 qualifying slots (4 direct and 1 inter-continental playoff against usually New Zealand). Half the continent gets into the World Cup now. IMHO that is underachieving as a confederation.

EUFA is made up of 52 countries with 13 qualifying slots. Twelve (12) different UEFA countries have reached the semis and 5 different UEFA countries have won it in the same period.

The argument about population is a muddy one - what percentage of a population play soccer at a high level, are the "high levels" comparable, HOW are superior resources utilized (imagine if the South had the North's "resources" during the Civil War;D or better yet, imagine Uruguay with U.S. soccer resources?) Quantity doesn't mean quality and (e.g.) little Belgium's "system" is reeking havoc over some mighty big soccer-resource countries.

Anyway, yes, conmebol does not have a monopoly on stubbornness - there's is just lingering longer. IMHO

 

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Well, down goes Belgium.  Man, France is just an amazing team, they are so young and fun to watch.  

I don't think England or Croatia can hang with them this Tourney.  But, I have been wrong several times in this WC...

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16 minutes ago, Mid Atlantic Tiger said:

Well, down goes Belgium.  Man, France is just an amazing team, they are so young and fun to watch.  

I don't think England or Croatia can hang with them this Tourney.  But, I have been wrong several times in this WC...

Agreed, and you and me both. 

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2 hours ago, Mid Atlantic Tiger said:

Well, down goes Belgium.  Man, France is just an amazing team, they are so young and fun to watch.  

I don't think England or Croatia can hang with them this Tourney.  But, I have been wrong several times in this WC...

Apparently our USMNT 19 year olds!

if France wins can we claim a share of the world title since we just tied them ... surely there is a clause that allows us to claim that ...

(watched about half the game and the stars that were on the field ... amazing.)

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4 minutes ago, mustache eagle said:

Apparently our USMNT 19 year olds!

if France wins can we claim a share of the world title since we just tied them ... surely there is a clause that allows us to claim that ...

(watched about half the game and the stars that were on the field ... amazing.)

Yeah, wouldn't that be great?

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Vive la France! Made it past the golden generation of Belgium soccer (w/ all respect to their '86 squad). With 19 yo M'bappe & an overall tremendously young team, I thought France's WC would be 2022. England's team is basically a youth movement too - what a great matchup that would be in the final! 

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On 7/10/2018 at 7:30 PM, aucanucktiger said:

Vive la France! Made it past the golden generation of Belgium soccer (w/ all respect to their '86 squad). With 19 yo M'bappe & an overall tremendously young team, I thought France's WC would be 2022. England's team is basically a youth movement too - what a great matchup that would be in the final! 

France was my pick going in b/c I had no idea who to pick. Turns out they're much better (and fun) than I expected. 

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FIFA's Top ten, prior to the World Cup, was pretty off. Germany was a paper tiger and real mess, as was Argentina, just a complete birch.

Portugal, Poland, Chile, and Spain were way overrated also. When you look at that list, Brazil, Belgium, Switzerland, and France are really the only top teams.

1. Germany

2.Brazil

3. Belgium

4. Portugal

5. Argentina

6. Switzerland

7. FRANCE

8. Poland

9. Chile

10. Spain

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France v England has panache.

France v Croatia much less so ...

The recognizeable talent in the French v Belgium game was crazy.  I like Chelsea and the number of active and former Chelsea players on the pitch during that semi was crazy.  I only recognize a couple of the Croatian guys and that is really by name only, not so much on field play.  I'll have to pull up the Croatian roster and see where those guys play.

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3 minutes ago, mustache eagle said:

France v England has panache.

France v Croatia much less so ...

The recognizeable talent in the French v Belgium game was crazy.  I like Chelsea and the number of active and former Chelsea players on the pitch during that semi was crazy.  I only recognize a couple of the Croatian guys and that is really by name only, not so much on field play.  I'll have to pull up the Croatian roster and see where those guys play.

That's why I tend to think France Belgium was the real Championship game.  England was such a weird team.  I really don't think they had a team persona, as do the French and Belgians, and the Croats.  The Croats are just gritty.  They hang on until you suffocate and die

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8 minutes ago, mustache eagle said:

France v England has panache.

France v Croatia much less so ...

The recognizeable talent in the French v Belgium game was crazy.  I like Chelsea and the number of active and former Chelsea players on the pitch during that semi was crazy.  I only recognize a couple of the Croatian guys and that is really by name only, not so much on field play.  I'll have to pull up the Croatian roster and see where those guys play.

You'll recognize a few if you follow Seria A, La Liga or Ligue 1. 

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20 minutes ago, AUDub said:

You'll recognize a few if you follow Seria A, La Liga or Ligue 1. 

I pulled their roster.  One EPL guy (which I am most familiar with).  A few Bundesliga guys (which I've watched the last couple years because of the US guys).  I virtually never watch those 3 leagues unless it is a Champions League game.  Quite frankly I dont know what network carries those leagues.  Modric and a couple of other names I know because if you enjoy any soccer you are familiar with Barcelona and Real rosters ... It is almost impossible not to know those teams.

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12 minutes ago, mustache eagle said:

I pulled their roster.  One EPL guy (which I am most familiar with).  A few Bundesliga guys (which I've watched the last couple years because of the US guys).  I virtually never watch those 3 leagues unless it is a Champions League game.  Quite frankly I dont know what network carries those leagues.  Modric and a couple of other names I know because if you enjoy any soccer you are familiar with Barcelona and Real rosters ... It is almost impossible not to know those teams. 

beIn is a great investment. Almost too much soccer from Europe's top leagues. Carries all three of those. Even some games from the FA League Championship.

Bundesliga is contracted to Fox, I believe.

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Interesting that going into this World Cup many experts gave Croatia a 3-4% chance of winning it all. But Croatian soccer has rock & rolled on the international level for decades, first as the region within Yugoslavia supplying most of that country's best players during some terrific WC and European championship tournament performances in the 50's, 60's & 70's then recently making it to the '98 WC semis before losing to eventual champion...France. Unfortunately Croatian soccer and some of the superstars on THIS team have been connected to a level of corruption that would make the tour de France jealous. But there's no faking it into the WC championship game.

Huge side note: USA ref Mark Geiger made FIFA's final pool to ref Sunday's game - we find out if he's on the crew Friday.

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Well shoot, 3 Argentinians got picked to ref the final (4th official & reserve are Dutch). Center will be Pitana, an excellent choice IMO...except they should have gone with the Yank.

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13 hours ago, aucanucktiger said:

Well shoot, 3 Argentinians got picked to ref the final (4th official & reserve are Dutch). Center will be Pitana, an excellent choice IMO...except they should have gone with the Yank.

Really? You like Geiger? I think he's an embarrassment. 

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